Couple win compensation dispute with ‘individual’ builders
Two builders have been ordered to pay compensation to a married couple despite claiming they were not responsible as individuals for problems with work they carried out.
The couple had entered into a contract with builders advertising as HavenBuild, which was a trading name and not a limited company.
The contract was for work on a property that was to be the couple’s home. The contract contained a clause stating that any disputes would be settled by an adjudicator.
A dispute arose, and the adjudicator awarded the couple compensation.
The builders refused to pay because the couple’s claim had been made against HavenBuild, which was not a legal entity, rather than against them as individuals.
They argued that the couple had at no time addressed which individuals were trading under the name HavenBuild and that the adjudicator had not dealt with that issue. The decision was not binding on them as it had been made against HavenBuild, which had no legal status and did not exist legally.
The couple took legal action and the court ruled in their favour. The judge said the law provided that where a partnership had a name, unless it was inappropriate to do so, claims had to be brought in or against the name under which the partnership carried on business.
The couple had done that in relation to the adjudication. The arguments put forward by the builders had no merit. In law, HavenBuild was the two individual builders involved.
The couple were entitled to receive the compensation awarded by the adjudicator.
Please contact Sing Li if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of contract law.